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West Ham signing this highly-rated 23-year-old Belgian league ace would be a shrewd move by Moyes

Oostende's Fashion Junior Sakala celebrates after scoring during a soccer match between KV Oostende and Royal Excel Mouscron, Sunday 04 October 2020 in Oostende, on day 8 of the 'Jupiler Pro League' first division of the Belgian championship. BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER (Photo by KURT DESPLENTER/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Why West Ham should take a punt on Fashion Sakala in January

According to The Sun (December 13; Page 59), West Ham have been credited with an interest in Zambian international striker Fashion Sakala, who currently plies his trade with KV Oostende in the Belgian top-flight. 

Premier League rivals Newcastle United are understood to be tracking the versatile forward while an unnamed Championship club has also been mentioned among the potential suitors for the 23-year-old. (h/t The Sun)

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Born in Chipata, Zambia, Fashion Sakala started his professional career with Nchanga Rangers and Zanaco in his homeland. He earned a move to Europe with Russian outfit Spartak Moscow in February 2017 but largely featured for farm club Spartak-2 Moscow in the second-tier, failing to make a single competitive appearance for the first-team.

Sakala was snapped up by KV Oostende in the summer of 2018 and he has since established himself as a highly-rated young striker in Belgium. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a promising start to the 2020-21 campaign with 5 league goals in 14 appearances, having netted 8 in 28 games last term. 

Anderlecht’s Killian Sardella and Oostende’s Fashion Junior Sakala fight for the ball during a soccer match between KV Oostende and RSC Anderlecht, Friday 28 August 2020 in Oostende, on day 4 of the ‘Jupiler Pro League’ first division of the Belgian championship. (Photo by KURT DESPLENTER/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

In all competitions so far, Sakala has managed a respectable tally of 20 goals and 6 assists in 82 appearances for Oostende. A full international for Zambia since 2017, the jet-heeled forward has earned 13 caps for his nation. 

Sakala would add more depth to the Hammers’ attack

West Ham have really hit the ground running in the Premier League this term after somehow staving off relegation last season. The Hammers currently sit 7th in the standings following a strong start to the season that has seen them accumulate 21 points from 13 games so far. David Moyes’ side have scored 21 goals while conceding just 16 in the process, which clearly shows that the team has fared pretty well at both ends of the pitch.

However, with the club looking good to challenge for a return to Europe, the manager might as well seek some additional firepower in front of goal when the market reopens in January. Michail Antonio started the season with a flurry of goals but has found his involvement restricted in recent weeks due to a knee problem. 

Sebastien Haller has been reinstated by Moyes as the first-choice centre-forward in Antonio’s absence but the Frenchman has struggled to find the net on a consistent basis. The Hammers, therefore, need to bring in another out-and-out striker in the winter market to take the pressure off Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals. 

Genk’s Joakim Maehle Pedersen and Oostende’s Fashion Junior Sakala fight for the ball during the Jupiler Pro League match between KRC Genk and KV Oostende, Monday 28 September 2020 in Genk, on day 7 of the ‘Jupiler Pro League’ first division of the Belgian soccer championship. (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Fashion Sakala might not be a household name in one of the top leagues in Europe but his rapid development in Belgium should prompt West Ham to take a punt on him next month. While essentially a centre-forward by trade, Sakala also has the versatility to operate out wide on either flank. That should make him a useful addition to the club’s attacking ranks. 

Verdict

Fashion Sakala has a decent scoring record in Belgium and still has plenty of room for growth at 23. Moyes has channelised his efforts into building a squad full of up and coming talents at the London Stadium, meaning a young striker like Sakala certainly fits the club’s transfer model. With the Zambian’s contract at Oostende set to expire next summer, West Ham should fancy their chances of nabbing him for a knockdown fee in January.

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Quality strikers like Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke have swapped the Belgian top-flight for the Premier League in recent years and Sakala could very much be a player in a mould similar to them.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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